Math Resources at Our Store

The following is an excerpt from our soon-to-be-published Fourth Grade Mathematics book. We not only include with our book workbooks by other publishers (two fractions books and two measurement books for fourth grade by Key Curriculum Press) but also strongly recommend that parents purchase one or more books of games and activities to extend and enliven their mathematics work at home. The three books we now carry at our Amazon Store by Claudia Zaslavsky are not Waldorf resources. Thus some of the material won’t be in sync with the progression of our math curriculum. However, as we are homeschoolers, we need to have some flexibility and find what works. And we can also choose to not just chuck the Waldorf curriculum in our attempts to branch out – we can actually pick and choose and generally stay within its bounds – if – and only if – we feel that there are good reasons for what is done when and want to work with this.
While we recommend these books for use during fourth grade and beyond, some very advanced third grade math students might benefit from them. If you are looking for interesting things to do in math with your fifth or sixth or possibly seventh grader, we would also strongly recommend these books (the first book is probably best for somewhat younger students – perhaps up to about 11).  Each of these books should provide you with a number of activities and games for a couple of years.
While we strongly recommend that you get one or more of the math games books we sell on our Amazon shop, we also strongly recommend that you hold back from some of the activities. For instance, the activities involving geometry should really wait until 5th grade as that is when geometry is introduced. It’s not so much a case that it would be wrong to do them earlier but that the child’s experience of being introduced to material in coherent and developmentally appropriate way could be lessened.
Therefore, don’t simply hand the book to your child! Rather, find activities you want to do and copy them out so you can introduce the game or project to your child and work together. Or, just say “let’s skip X and Y because we’ll be doing that kind of thing next year” and then browse through the book together with your child to find interesting things to do.
You’ll see as well that there is material in the books which can be used to support material you will be introducing this year. The section on “Prime and Not Prime” in Number Sense and Nonsense is an example of this.
On the whole, we recommend that you use these books as supplements to our Christopherus math curriculum. However, they are not a required and integral part such as the Key To workbooks. Use games and activities to deepen material you have covered. Use them to have a break from your usual math work. Challenge fast learners with the material in these books and enthuse slow learners. And just bring an enjoyable change to everyone else!
Number Sense and Nonsense – Claudia Zaslavsky
Although Zaslavsky recommends this book for children as young as 8, I would wait until 9 or 10. This book focuses on interesting ways to manipulate and play with numbers, unlike the other two which are basically collections of games and puzzles from around the world. There are exercises with calendars; work with zeroes; work with measurement; guessing games using logic, and so on.
Please do NOT use a calculator in the section on calculator games if you want to keep any vestiges of Waldorf methodology in your approach to math! (see section in our 4th grade math book on calculators).
Indeed, do note that there are sections on using an abacus as well as Native American number signs for those wishing to give their children alternatives to pencil and paper calculation.
Math Games and Activities from Around the World – Claudia Zaslavsky
This is a brilliant collection of very simple games from many cultures which can be played sketched out in sand or dirt, drawn with chalk on a sidewalk or drawn on paper. All can be played with one or two players. The games will help develop your child’s powers of logical thinking, strategy, foresight and memory. There are also games involving codes and magic squares as well as form drawing-type “repeating patterns” which are an important part of the 4th grade curriculum. Please, though, skip the geometry until 5th grade.
More Math Games and Activities from Around the World – Claudia Zaslavsky
Similar to the above – more wonderful games, puzzles and patterns!! Do, though, skip those subjects which could diminish your introduction of them next year such as the Islamic geometry patterns – something to look forward to!

Posted on August 29, 2008 in News

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